Happiness is directly associated with better health, including longer life spans and lower blood pressure. “Happiness” is an umbrella term encompassing contentment, satisfaction, optimism, gratitude, hope, joy, etc. Being happy doesn’t just make us feel better about our lives; it also brings about many health benefits. Therefore, happiness can make us healthier, as evidenced by many studies.
Happiness Leads to a Healthier Lifestyle
According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnological Information, being happy is associated with healthy activities, such as eating healthy and being physically active, which positively impacts cardiovascular and overall health. Furthermore, consumption of fresh fruit, vegetables, chicken, and fish are associated with positive well-being. Physical activity is consistently associated with higher energy levels, improved sleep, productivity, and maintaining a healthy weight, which improves and sustains bone strength, blood pressure, and overall well-being. Studies also show that optimism has been found to reduce engagement in health risk behaviors, such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.
Happiness Boosts Immune Systems
Research even points to happiness preserving a healthy immune system, which then protects the body against illnesses. It found that less happy people are almost three times as likely to acquire the common cold than their happier counterparts. Furthermore, happy people are more likely to engage in health-protecting activities that promote physical health and therefore foster a healthier immune system.
Happiness Trumps Stress
Stress increases the levels of the hormone cortisol, and happiness lessens these levels. Cortisol contributes to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and disturbed sleep. Studies find that when people maintain happiness over time, the levels of cortisol produced in response to stressful situations are lower. Exercising, meditation, and getting quality sleep are just a few of the ways to combat stress and its effects.
It is important to practice happiness – such as gratitude, smiling, and optimism – to obtain and maintain it. Exercise also increases happiness, and it can be as simple as taking a short walk every day. Furthermore, taking that walk outside may significantly improve mood, and therefore increase happiness. Getting good sleep and eating healthy also promotes happiness.
Struggling to Be Happy?
Happiness is vital for sustaining a foundation for lifelong health. Happiness is proven to affect us in profound ways. If you are struggling to be happy, you are not alone. More than a third of the global population report feeling worried and stressed, and therefore unhappy. At Fort Worth Recovery, we offer a nurturing space to support clients on their road to recovery. We seek to inspire clients to face their challenges, possibly born out of feelings of unhappiness and negative lifestyles, and foster hope for their future.